Waxwings, Paperback

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At the turn of the millennium, two immigrants are drawn to the United States by their own versions of the American Dream.

For Tom Janeway - a Hungarian-born English intellectual most at home with his books - it's the family he thought he'd never have.

For Chick - an illegal alien newly escaped from a cargo container - it's the land of plenty he imagined back in China.

But as the stock market hits a new high, anti-globalist riots break out in the streets, a terrorist is arrested and a child disappears, the two men's dreams collide in a way neither could have anticipated.

Unjustly accused of a horrific crime, estranged from his wife and his beloved young son, Tom's life is rapidly unravelling.

Chick, meanwhile, has a burgeoning business by day but no safe place to lay his bed at night.

For both, the New World proves surprisingly full of old ways.

Waxwings is a masterwork. Exquisitely written, moving, funny and hugely entertaining, it brilliantly captures the landscape and life of contemporary America, and it confirms Jonathan Raban as one of our very finest writers.

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